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Old 02-11-2015, 11:00 AM
 
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Parents, I teach Middle and High School at a large, suburban private school. I have two young children, but don't yet have first hand experience with tweens and teenagers. What are some of the biggest challenges you face? What have been some of your biggest successes? Where do you go online to get help or ideas for your child's education, activities, sports, etc? Are your child's teachers responsive? Do they grade work in a timely manner? Do they offer after-school help sessions? In a perfect world, what would grade school education look like for your family? What would make it easier?

Thank you for helping me make my classroom a better place!
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Old 02-11-2015, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
43,444 posts, read 41,976,963 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niesdm View Post
Parents, I teach Middle and High School at a large, suburban private school. I have two young children, but don't yet have first hand experience with tweens and teenagers. What are some of the biggest challenges you face? What have been some of your biggest successes? Where do you go online to get help or ideas for your child's education, activities, sports, etc? Are your child's teachers responsive? Do they grade work in a timely manner? Do they offer after-school help sessions? In a perfect world, what would grade school education look like for your family? What would make it easier?

Thank you for helping me make my classroom a better place!
You're a teacher, but you don't have first-hand experience with kids this age??????
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:14 PM
 
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I don't have my own kids this age so I don't have experience as a parent. Thank you for the correction!
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Old 02-11-2015, 07:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
You're a teacher, but you don't have first-hand experience with kids this age??????
Even teachers have to start somewhere....
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Back at home in western Washington!
1,490 posts, read 3,952,894 times
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My concerns were:

Safety - once they are old enough to go do things on their own, they are out of your control and you have to trust them and other people to do the right thing. I don't trust other people much, so that was a huge challenge. Every stranger was a pedophile or stalker to me.

Social - we suffered through some severe bullying / abuse with my oldest in high school. It left me unable to trust other teens (or their parents) to be good people. Live and let live simply didn't exist in our school. It changed the way I treated my younger daughter...for better or worse, I don't know yet (she's still in middle school).

Having them, ultimately, become productive adults never concerned me because I knew they would. Perhaps not the way I would have chosen for them, but I had to let go and let them follow their own paths.

Feeding, housing, clothing, etc... them never kept me up at night. My sleepless nights were all caused by worry of how other people would treat (or were treating) my kids. You will never feel anger like you will when someone hurts one of your children.
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:31 AM
 
28,206 posts, read 20,769,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niesdm View Post
Parents, I teach Middle and High School at a large, suburban private school. I have two young children, but don't yet have first hand experience with tweens and teenagers. What are some of the biggest challenges you face? What have been some of your biggest successes? Where do you go online to get help or ideas for your child's education, activities, sports, etc? Are your child's teachers responsive? Do they grade work in a timely manner? Do they offer after-school help sessions? In a perfect world, what would grade school education look like for your family? What would make it easier?

Thank you for helping me make my classroom a better place!
First of all, I think its awesome you are reaching out to parents. It shows you really are about the kids.

1. My son is in his first year of middle school. My biggest challenge has been allowing him to transition into a more independent student. He has more homework this year, more research projects, etc and I do feel he needs to do the bulk of this work on his own. From K-5 I was more involved with his school work. This year I don't always know what they are working on because there is just so much. On one hand I feel this is good for both of us, on the other I wonder if I'm taking too much of a backseat.

2. Related to above, my son has been getting good grades and always has his work in on time. He has been very responsible with his own work.


3. I come here. We also use YouTube channels such as Khan Academy, TED, ASAPScience, HowStuffWorks, etc. We also use the library and our local state park systems. Both have free programs through out the year. My son is also involved with sports and music.

4. Only one of son's teachers are responsive. The rest? I don't get his tests back. I don't get his homework back. I don't know if they grade in a timely manner because nothing ever gets returned. While I don't want to micromanage my son, I would like replies to my emails and my son would like to see how he's performed on tests, projects, homework etc.

5. His school does offer free after school tutoring. This started last year.

6. I'd like better communication with the teachers. That's my biggest gripe.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:54 PM
 
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Hi Magritte!

Hmmm... Let me guess. There are teacher websites and online grading systems that are rarely (never) updated, right?

If it's bad (if your son is falling behind in one of his core classes) you can start cc-ing the guidance counselor and assistant principal on your emails. You can then go to the guidance counselor and ask for advice. "Mrs. Smith won't answer any of my emails and I never see Johnny's tests or homework. Can you help?" You can request a conference with non-responsive teachers and (this is important) perhaps ask to have a guidance counselor present. Maybe even an administrator. You'll get better results from the teachers if they know that you don't mind politely involving their boss. This is also a great way to make sure all teachers are on the same page. Don't let them overwhelm you, either. You're the client.

I know that a lot of parents are hesitant to push too hard when the teacher isn't doing all that they're supposed to. You guys seem to think that we'll take it out on your child if you're a pain in the neck. I've never seen that happen, and I've been teaching for 10 years. We may get annoyed with you, but that's only because you're reminding us to do something that we should be doing anyway. Don't worry about us being overwhelmed. All teachers are overwhelmed. It's part of the job.

Of course you can avoid the nuclear option of going to the boss at first. Start by cc-ing the AP or counselor on your normal requests for grades. Then go to the counselor. Finally you can invite their boss to a polite conference. You just want them to notice that you're not going away until you get what you need to help your child succeed. Again, I would focus these tactics on core classes (math, science, English, social studies) in which you think he's falling behind.

Good luck! And thank you again for your feedback. Sometimes we just really need to know what parents are thinking.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:57 PM
 
10 posts, read 7,088 times
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Sabinerose, thank you for your insights! Bullying is awful. Please work with the teachers and staff if you feel your younger daughter is being bullied.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
15,036 posts, read 21,772,182 times
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I have a boy and a girl and think the posters above are spot on.

My son is very shy after being bullied and has a hard time making friends. At this age as a parent it's hard to intervene and create friendships. A couple of teachers noticed this and sat him next to a child they thought he could connect with. He was able to make a friend this way, and what a huge difference for him!

My daughter is the opposite, social butterfly. But boy are girls mean!! At least once a week my daughter comes home and tells me a mean girl story. Some of them have happened right in front of teachers, who do nothing (that she's aware of). If you see mean girl attitude, stop it right there. Little jokes made on class that are about someone can sting, especially when there is more going on behind the scenes.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
17,072 posts, read 17,400,726 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magritte25 View Post

4. Only one of son's teachers are responsive. The rest? I don't get his tests back. I don't get his homework back. I don't know if they grade in a timely manner because nothing ever gets returned. While I don't want to micromanage my son, I would like replies to my emails and my son would like to see how he's performed on tests, projects, homework etc.
.
Margritte, It was interesting that you wrote, "I" don't get his tests back and "I" don't get his homework back.

I am not saying that it is happening in your case but are you absolutely sure that the teacher is not giving the homework back to your son and telling your son how he did on the tests and he is just not sharing it with you?

Has your son asked that teacher directly how he is doing in that class?

Of course, the teacher should be responding to your emails, but is it possible that you are asking questions that your son should be taking responsibility for himself?
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